The new coach and the new quarterback beat the new team.
Defending 2A state champion Valley Christian won their home-opener 27-0 against Poston Butte Thursday night.
First-year coach Kevin Allen took over the program this spring after former coach Bill Morgan resigned, and the Trojans improved to 2-0 with a varied attack; A bevy of ball-carries controlled the clock and wore down one the newest 4A schools playing an independent schedule.
“My (coaching) style is just playing as a team and utilizing our strengths,” Allen said. “We have a lot of versatility, that is for sure.”
After losing center and star defensive tackle Colton Udall to suspension during Valley Christian’s season opening 55-0 win over Globe, Allen was forced into a new role: Juggler.
Fullback Shane Higgins was moved to guard, starting tackle Nate Wolf moved to center and starting quarterback Drew Bond was moved to tight end, where he played last year. That meant Josh Pineda, a late arrival to camp during the summer, was forced to take the reigns as lead signal-caller. He seized the opportunity by throwing for 59 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 54 more yards.
Perhaps not coincidentally, it was the tight end Bond on the receiving end of both scoring strikes, as Pineda’s touchdown tosses came on play-action roll-outs to both the left and right.
“He knows what is going to work and we talk with each other,” Pineda said.
Pineda, a far smaller player than Bond, showed his agility as a runner. He turned what appeared to be a big loss in the third quarter for 39 yards—only after reversing his field twice and breaking multiple tackles.
“I trust Josh as much as humanly possible,” Bond said. “He just surprises me all the time with what he can do and his abilities.”
Another key force in the Trojans attack was bruising fullback Dom Laws who finished with 67 yards on 15 carries.
The message after the game from the three stars Thursday was clear.
“I think there is more teamwork, a lot more trust,” Laws said. “There is a lot more communication."